Wells Fargo Hit With Oakland’s Refiled Loan Discrimination Suit

By Chris Bruce

The city of Oakland, Calif., has re-filed a Fair Housing Act lawsuit against Wells Fargo, marking the latest move in a cluster of cases that will test such claims under a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling ( Oakland v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A. , N.D. Cal., 15-cv-04321, amended complaint 8/15/17 ).

Oakland’s Aug. 15 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which was expected, updates a suit originally filed in 2015. Oakland alleges lending discrimination by Wells Fargo and says it suffered widespread economic injury. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court said cities may file such lawsuits under the Fair Housing Act, but said plaintiffs must allege that their economic injury was caused by the discrimination cited in the suits.

In its filing Aug. 15, Oakland blamed Wells Fargo for suppressed property tax revenues, increased municipal costs, and additional expenditures and allocation of city resources. “The Bank’s wrongful conduct herein alleged directly caused injury to the City because Defendants issued discriminatory loans that directly caused foreclosures,” Oakland said.

Wells Fargo spokesperson Tom Goyda declined to comment on the filing.

Several other cities and local governments have filed similar suits against Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and other banks. Philadelphia filed suit against Wells Fargo in May, shortly after the Supreme Court rendered its ruling.

In July, Wells Fargo asked Judge Legrome D. Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to dismiss the suit. Philadelphia is scheduled to file a response by Aug. 22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Bruce in Washington at cbruce@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Ferullo at MFerullo@bna.com

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